News & Commentary on ISO Management System Standards

    ISO 9001 Continual Improvement - DO's and DON'Ts

    Improvement Meeting-1-1

    Practical advice on ISO 9001:2015 Clause 10.3

    The organisation itself determines the rate, extent and timescale of actions that support continual improvement. Quality Management System (QMS) performance can be enhanced by applying an improvement to the quality management system as a whole or improving one or more of its elements. Your ISO 9001 Implementation Project offers a real opportunity to take advantage of Continual Improvement.


    How to Implement ISO 9001, Clause 10.3: Continual Improvement...

    • Do develop a QMS Improvement PlanYou can do this with the aid and support of top management.
    • Do present suggested improvements to the Management Review Meeting. Here, decisions can quickly be made regarding the choice and priority of the improvement projects and the allocation of resources against them.
    • Do aim for an approved improvement plan adequately resourced. Make sure this is in line with QMS Policy and integrated (usually) with Quality Objectives.

    New call-to-action

    A QMS Improvement Plan Outline Sample

    The following example shows the outline of an improvement action plan. Such a plan might result from an internal audit and/or a management review of the QMS.

    QMS Improvement Plan Outline Sample


    And here are the DON'Ts:

    • Don’t have improvement plans without measurable objectives. Without a target, how will you measure success?
    • Don’t have vague improvement plans. Responsibility and authority to implement and manage the improvement should be clearly defined and documented. The use of Action Programmes is recommended.
    • Don’t forget to consider timing and resources when crafting an improvement plan. Setting due dates for the busiest time of the year or when the needed people or resources are unavailable makes failure almost inevitable.

    ISO 9001 Lead Implementer CTA Button

    Conclusion: Transform a good QMS into a great one

    Continual Improvement is intended to help transform a good QMS into a great one. By changing the QMS in a controlled manner, the organisation can match the changing needs of customers and end-users.  Too often in the past little more than lip service has been paid to improvement.

    In implementing ISO 9001:2015, ensure your organisation gets all the real opportunities here.  Improvements can work wonders for the bottom line. The result can be a greater appreciation by your management colleagues of what the QMS can contribute. And what you can contribute could also help your bottom line!

    New call-to-action

    Related Articles

    deGRANDSON Global is an ISO Certified Educational Organization

    In In October 2021, we secured certification to three education-related ISO Standards.  We now have a university-grade management system in place conforming to the requirements of  …

    • ISO 21001, Educational Organizational Management System,
    • ISO 29993, Learning Services outside formal Education,  and
    • ISO 29994, Learning Services – additional requirements for Distance Learning.

    We have chosen ISO 21001 certification because it is based on independent third-party assessment, unlike IRCA and Exemplar badges (which we believe are commercially compromised).  It is a ‘university grade’ standard in use globally by schools, colleges, and universities to demonstrate their competence.


    Written by Dr John FitzGerald

    Director & Founder of deGRANDSON Global. Spent 15 years in the manufacturing industry and 25 years training, consulting & auditing management systems
    Find me on:

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Recent Posts